LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As our nation pauses to honor veterans on Sunday, schools made sure they did so a few days before the weekend holiday.
Some students crafted personal messages while others gathered by the thousands to recognize U.S. service men and women.
When the music faded and ROTC cadets presented the colors, you could hear a pin drop in North Bullitt High's gymnasium which was packed with 1,700 middle and high schoolers.
Nothing could distract a captive audience at St. Leonard Elementary.
Fourth-grader Addison Gerch is grasping the meaning behind Veterans Day. "Actually, I have one in my family. My mom's dad," Gerch said.
She might know a little more about her heritage after a class assignment. Students hung photos and biographies of relatives or family friends on a cafeteria wall.
"That was really impressive, the wall where they had the pictures. I read some of the write ups. One person was a POW. If St. Leonard hadn't done this, the child probably wouldn't have known what a Prisoner of War was," Army veteran Don Helton said.
Patriotism echoed in the halls. Students sang songs, recited poems and speakers provided insight, but what matters most: "That they really grab the concept that Veterans Day really means a lot more than just soldiers going out and fighting. It's about service to our country," JROTC Cadet Joseph Miller said.
St. Leonard 7th grader Bailey Masterson felt the same way. "It's awesome - seeing the little kids doing this and the older kids. It all comes together and it's a great experience," she said.
It was an experience inspiring some to pursue a veteran distinction. "I want to go to University of Louisville Speed School and become an officer in the National Guard," Miller added.